Tag Archives: Library of Congress

Photo Research and Editing: The John Brown Photos

It was long past the eleventh hour of my publication timetable and I still needed to get one last image to illustrate the article &#8220&#8216-No Mortal Eye Can Penetrate': Louis Ransom’s Commemoration of John Brown&#8221 which would be appearing in our Autumn issue. I turned to the Library of Congress’s website, found and saved the file along with the metadata in order to be able to cite it correctly, and sent the last of the material to our designer.

Six short weeks later, the Autumn 2012 issue of The Hudson River Valley Review was out to great acclaim, and just a few even shorter days after that I received my first correction. It was about that image, and it was from Jean Libby, who had been cited in the article as the curator and author of the John Brown Photo Chronology. It was clear that I had gotten something wrong. Continue reading

A Call to Record Veterans’ Histories

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has issued a call to action to all Americans. During the Veterans History Project’s 10th Anniversary Commemoration Sept. 29, he launched a new campaign asking America to &#8220collect and preserve the story of at least one veteran&#8221 and to &#8220pledge to preserve this important part of American history.&#8221 Time is of the essence, he added: &#8220Help us gather in the accounts of 10,000 veterans by Veterans Day.&#8221

Congress created The Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to record, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. More than 68,000 individual stories comprise the collection to date.

The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteer interviewers may request information at vohp@loc.gov or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

Study: Audio Preservation, Access in Dire State

Digital technology alone will not ensure the preservation and survival of the nation’s sound history. That is one of the findings in a major study released by the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) detailing the state of sound-recording preservation and access. The study was mandated by the U.S. Congress under the &#8220National Recording Preservation Act of 2000&#8243- (P.L. 106-174) and is the first comprehensive study on a national level that examines the state of America’s sound-recording preservation ever conducted in the United States.

Titled &#8220The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age,&#8221 the study outlines the interlocking issues that now threaten the long-term survival of America’s sound-recording history. It also identifies the public and private policy issues that strongly bear on whether the nation’s most culturally and historically important sound recordings will be preserved for future generations.

Although public institutions, libraries and archives hold an estimated 46 million recordings, the study finds that major areas of America’s recorded sound heritage have already deteriorated or remain inaccessible to the public. Only an estimated 14 percent of pre-1965 commercially released recordings are currently available from rights-holders. Of music released in the United States in the 1930s, only about 10 percent of it can now be readily accessed by the public.

In his introduction to the study, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington noted: &#8220Sound recordings have existed as one of the most salient features of America’s cultural landscape for more than 130 years. As a nation, we have good reason to be proud of our historical record of creativity in the sound-recording arts and sciences. However, our collective energy in creating and consuming sound recordings in all genres has not been matched by an equal level of interest, over the same period of time, in preserving them for posterity.&#8221

Authored by Rob Bamberger and Sam Brylawski under the auspices of NRPB, the study points out the lack of conformity between federal and state laws, which has adversely affected the survival of pre-1972 sound recording. One of the major conclusions in the report is that the advent of digital technologies and distribution platforms has made inseparable the issues surrounding both the preservation of sound recordings and access to them.

The authors also conclude that analog recordings made more than 100 years ago are likelier to survive than digital recordings made today. In addition, the report warns that there must be a coordinated effort by the various stakeholders to address the scope of the problem, the complexity of the technical landscape, the need for preservation education and the copyright conundrum.

Finally, the report notes that newer materials such as born-digital audio are at greater risk of loss than older recordings, such as 78-rpm discs- that there is a lack of a comprehensive program to preserve born-digital audio- and that open-reel preservation tapes made in the 1970s and 1980s are deteriorating faster than older tape recordings. For more findings from the report, review the appendix at www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/PR10-194SRstudyAppendixwithkeyfindings.pdf and the introduction/executive summary at www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/CLIRpub148Intro.pdf.

&#8220The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age&#8221 is available for purchase and as a free download at www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub148abst.html. Information for this study was gathered through interviews, public hearings and written submissions. NRPB previously commissioned five ancillary studies in support of this final report, which will lay the groundwork for the National Recording Preservation Plan, to be developed and published later this year.

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation has already begun initiatives to solve some of the problems identified during preparation of the study. For example, the Recorded Sound Section of the Packard Campus has obtained a license to stream acoustical recordings controlled by the Sony Music Entertainment for the Library of Congress National Jukebox, which will debut later in 2010.

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is the site where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/). The Packard Campus is home to more than six million collection items, including nearly three million sound recordings. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board, and the National Registries for film and recorded sound.

Photo: Vice-President Elect Harry Truman’s family listening to election returns, 1944.

Library of Congress Adds To Online Newspaper Site

The Library of Congress has added more than 380,000 historic newspaper pages to the Chronicling America website, including newspapers from 3 new states &#8211 Louisiana, Montana, and South Carolina &#8211 and expanding the site’s time coverage further into the Civil War era. The site now includes almost 2.7 million pages from 348 titles published between 1860 and 1922 in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Chronicling America is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

NEH Seeks Proposals National Digital Newspaper Program

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is soliciting proposals from institutions to participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP is creating a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922, from all the states and U.S. territories, published in English, French, Italian or Spanish. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet. See the website, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers &#8211 http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.

Library of Congress Launches Digital Stewardship Alliance

The Library of Congress has announced the formation of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), a partnership of institutions and organizations dedicated to preserving and providing access to selected databases, web pages, video, audio and other digital content with enduring value.

The alliance is an outgrowth of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), which the Library has administered since 2000. In establishing the program, Congress directed the Library to work with other federal agencies and a variety of additional communities to develop a national approach to digital preservation. NDIIPP has achieved substantial success though partnering with more than 170 institutions to provide access to a diverse national collection of digital content. This work demonstrates that a collective effort can achieve far more than individual institutions working alone.

The NDSA will build on this accomplishment by focusing on several goals. It will develop improved preservation standards and practices- work with experts to identify categories of digital information that are most worthy of preservation- and take steps to incorporate content into a national collection. It will provide national leadership for digital-preservation education and training. The new organization will also provide communication and outreach for all aspects of digital preservation.

&#8220It is clear that collective action is needed to preserve valuable digital information that our nation needs to support economic, scientific and cultural innovation,&#8221 said Laura Campbell, associate librarian for strategic initiatives. &#8220The Library of Congress is committed to leading a distributed approach to digital stewardship. This is the best way to sustain and extend the Library’s historic mission to make resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people. It is also the best way for all cultural-heritage institutions to sustain and extend their missions in the midst of a revolution in how knowledge and creativity is created and disseminated.&#8221

The NDSA will launch with a core set of founding members drawn from current NDIIPP project partners. Those members will develop a roadmap for immediate action, including a process for expanding membership. For more information, visit www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndsa/.

Library of Congress Puts Thousands of Books Online

Nearly 60,000 books have been digitized as part of the first-ever mass book digitization project of the U.S. Library of Congress (LOC), the world’s largest library. Many of the books cover the period of Western settlement of the United States from 1865–1922 and provide historians a new source of information that would be otherwise difficult to locate and obtain. Hard-to-find Civil War regimental histories are also included- the oldest work to be included is from 1707 and covers the trial of two Presbyterian ministers in New York. All of the books are in the collection are in the public domain, according to library officials.

The new additions, along with previously digitized books can be accessed through the Library’s catalog Web site and the Internet Archive.

The Library of Congress has already digitized many of its other collections — more than 7 million photographs, maps, audio and video recordings, newspapers, letters and diaries can be found at the Library’s Digital Collections site.

The Internet Archive is the second-largest book-scanning project after Google Books. A subset of this project is the Google Books Library Project, which has agreements to scan collections of numerous research libraries worldwide.

2009 National Film Registry Announced

The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced 25 motion pictures that will be preserved as cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures. Spanning the period 1911-1995, the films named to the 2009 National Film Registry of the Library of Congress range from the sci-fi classic &#8220The Incredible Shrinking Man&#8221 and Bette Davis’ Oscar-winning performance in &#8220Jezebel&#8221 to the Muppets’ movie debut and Michael Jackson’s iconic video &#8220Thriller.&#8221 This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 525.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the registry that are &#8220culturally, historically or aesthetically&#8221 significant to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the &#8220best&#8221 American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture.

&#8220Established by Congress in 1989, the National Film Registry spotlights the importance of protecting America’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity,&#8221 said Billington. &#8220By preserving the nation’s films, we safeguard a significant element of our cultural patrimony and history.&#8221

Other selections to this year’s registry include Al Pacino’s &#8220Dog Day Afternoon,&#8221 the World War II drama &#8220Mrs. Miniver,&#8221 the swashbuckling adventure &#8220The Mark of Zorro&#8221 and the popular spaghetti Western &#8220Once Upon a Time in the West.&#8221 Among the lesser-known films named to the registry are &#8220The Jungle,&#8221 a hybrid documentary/dramatization made by a group of young African-American gang members- &#8220A Study in Reds,&#8221 directed by amateur filmmaker Miriam Bennett- and Martin Brest’s student film &#8220Hot Dogs for Gauguin.&#8221

Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after his review of hundreds of titles nominated by the public and extensive discussions with members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion-picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website (www.loc.gov/film/).

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility that acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings.

2009 National Film Registry

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director Sidney Lumet balances suspense, violence and humor in Frank Pierson’s Oscar-winning adaptation of a true-life bank robbery turned media circus. Al Pacino is the engaging Sonny, a smart yet self-destructive Brooklyn tough guy whose plan to rob the local bank to pay for his lover’s sex change goes awry. Lumet artfully conducts his talented cast through machinations that twist and turn from the political to the personal, and inevitably lead to a downward spiral played out before an audience of millions.

The Exiles (1961)

Released nearly 48 years ago, &#8220The Exiles&#8221 remains one of the few non-stereotypical films that honestly depict Native Americans. With the perspective of a true outsider, filmmaker Kent MacKenzie captures the raw essence of a group of 20-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live among the decayed Victorian mansions of Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill district. MacKenzie’s day-in-the-life narrative pieces together interviews that allow the people in his film to tell their own stories without ascribing artificial sentimentality.

Heroes All (1920)

The Red Cross Bureau of Pictures produced more than 100 films, including &#8220Heroes All,&#8221 from 1917-1921, which are invaluable historical and visual records of the era with footage from World War I and its aftermath. &#8220Heroes All&#8221 examines returning wounded WWI veterans and their treatment at Walter Reed Hospital, along with visits to iconic Washington, D.C., landmarks. Several Red Cross cinematographers achieved notable film careers, including Ernest Schoedsack and A. Farciot Edouart.

Hot Dogs for Gauguin (1972)

This hilarious New York University student film (with a cast including Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman in her film debut) was written and directed by Martin Brest who later went on to direct &#8220Beverly Hills Cop,&#8221 &#8220Scent of a Woman&#8221 and &#8220Meet Joe Black.&#8221 In the film, DeVito plays a down-on-his-luck photographer determined to capture visual magic and fame. He concocts an intricate plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty and sets his camera to record the exact moment of its destruction.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

This sci-fi classic about a man who starts to shrink after being exposed to a strange cloud while on vacation is notable for its intelligent script and imaginative special effects. Jack Arnold’s sparse direction and Richard Matheson’s poignant script allow the tension to build naturally in a world where a house cat and common spider become the ultimate threat to existence and leave an indelible mark on the audience’s consciousness.

Jezebel (1938)

Bette Davis won her second Academy Award for this William Wyler-directed classic. Cast to perfection as a tempestuous southern belle, Davis’ head-strong heroine must eventually learn self-sacrifice in order to save the man she loves. Despite its melodramatic underpinnings, the film endures because of Davis’ flawless performance and for its examination of both the American South and women’s societal roles. The movie co-stars Henry Fonda and Fay Bainter, who also won an Oscar for her work.

The Jungle (1967)

With the guidance of Temple University social worker Harold Haskins, a group of African-American teenage boys in Philadelphia made this hybrid documentary/dramatization of their lives in the 12th and Oxford Street gang. Shot in an original and natural style, this 22-minute film was recognized with festival awards, but was never theatrically released. In 1968, Churchill Films distributed the film in 16mm for the educational market. The production led several of the gang members to earn high school and college degrees.

The Lead Shoes (1949)

&#8220The Lead Shoes&#8221 is a dreamlike trance showing the unconscious acts of a disturbed mind through a distorted lens and other abstract visual techniques (such as reverse and stop motion). &#8220Narrative succumbs to the comic devices of inconsequence and illogic,&#8221 said writer and independent filmmaker Sidney Peterson of his film. Peterson is considered the father of San Francisco avant-garde cinema.

Little Nemo (1911)

This classic work, a mix of live action and animation, was adapted from Winsor McCay’s famed 1905 comic strip &#8220Little Nemo in Slumberland.&#8221 Its fluidity, graphics and story-telling was light years beyond other films made during that time. A seminal figure in both animation and comic art, McCay profoundly influenced many generations of future animators, including Walt Disney.

Mabel’s Blunder (1914)

Mabel Normand, who wrote, directed and starred in &#8220Mabel’s Blunder,&#8221 was the most successful of the early silent screen comediennes. The film tells the tale
of a young woman who is secretly engaged to the boss’ son. When a new employee catches the young man’s eye, a jealous Mabel dresses up as a chauffeur to spy on them, which leads to a series of mistaken identities. The film showcases Normand’s spontaneous and intuitive playfulness and her ability to be both romantically appealing and boisterously funny.

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Under Rouben Mamoulian’s inventive direction, Tyrone Power plays Don Diego, son of a 19th-century Los Angeles governor who has been unseated by a mercenary despot and his sadistic captain, portrayed by Basil Rathbone. Convincingly foppish by day, Don Diego conceals his heroic alter-ego to avenge his father and the terrorized citizenry, carving his signature &#8220Z&#8221 with his trusty sword as he goes. Mamoulian cleverly cuts in and out of scenes to heighten the drama and action as the film crescendos to a thrilling duel between Rathbone and Power.

Mrs. Miniver (1942)

This remarkably touching wartime melodrama pictorializes the classic British stiff upper lip and the courage of a middle-class English family (headed by Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon) amid the chaos of air raids and family loss. The film’s iconic tribute to the sacrifices on the home front, as movingly directed by William Wyler, did much to rally America’s support for its British allies. &#8220Mrs. Miniver&#8221 won six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Muppet creators Jim Henson and Frank Oz immersed their characters into a well-crafted combination of musical comedy and fantasy adventure. Kermit the Frog leads TV series regulars Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Ralph and Animal on a road trip to Hollywood where they encounter numerous characters played by such actors as Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and Charles Durning.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Disdained as &#8220Spaghetti Westerns&#8221 when they first appeared in American movie theaters, the best of these films, such as &#8220Once Upon a Time in the West,&#8221 are now recognized as among the greatest achievements of the Western movie genre. Director Sergio Leone’s operatic visual homage to the American Western legend is a chilling tale of vengeance set against the backdrop of the coming of the railroad. Ennio Morricone’s magnificent score (especially the elegiac &#8220Jill’s Theme&#8221) is likewise recognized for its brilliance.

Pillow Talk (1959 )

The first film to co-star Doris Day and Rock Hudson, &#8220Pillow Talk&#8221 remains one of the screen’s most definitive, influential and timeless romantic comedies. Sweet and sophisticated, it is a time capsule of 1950s America. Two single New Yorkers develop an anonymous, antagonistic relationship by sharing a telephone &#8220party line.&#8221 Both romance and complications ensue when they finally meet in person. The film is a perfect showcase for its two charismatic stars, especially the effervescent Day who demonstrates why she was both America’s Sweetheart and one of cinema’s finest comediennes.

Precious Images (1986)

Chuck Workman’s legendary compilation film to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America is also a dazzling celebration of the first near-century of American cinema. The pioneer of rapid-fire film history montages, &#8220Precious Images&#8221 contains in the space of seven short minutes nearly 500 clips from classic films spanning the years 1903-1985. It became the most influential and widely shown short film in history. Workman is known for creating the montages shown during the annual Academy Awards broadcast.

Quasi at the Quackadero (1975)

&#8220Quasi at the Quackadero&#8221 has earned the term &#8220unique.&#8221 Once described as a &#8220mixture of 1930s Van Beuren cartoons and 1960s R. Crumb comics with a dash of Sam Flax,&#8221 and a descendent of the &#8220Depression-era funny animal cartoon,&#8221 Sally Cruikshank’s wildly imaginative tale of odd creatures visiting a psychedelic amusement park careens creatively from strange to truly wacky scenes. It became a favorite of the Midnight Movie circuit in the 1970s. Cruikshank later created animation sequences for &#8220Sesame Street,&#8221 the 1986 film &#8220Ruthless People&#8221 and the &#8220Cartoon Land&#8221 sequence in the 1983 film &#8220Twilight Zone: The Movie.&#8221

The Red Book (1994)

Renowned experimental filmmaker and theater/installation artist Janie Geiser’s work is

known for its ambiguity, explorations of memory and emotional states and exceptional design. She describes &#8220The Red Book&#8221 as &#8220an elliptical, pictographic animated film that uses flat, painted figures and collage elements in both two and three dimensional settings to explore the realms of memory, language and identity from the point of view of a woman amnesiac.&#8221

The Revenge of Pancho Villa (1930-36)

This extraordinary compilation film was made by the Padilla family in El Paso, Texas, from dozens of fact-based and fictional films about Pancho Villa. The films were stitched together with original bilingual title cards and dramatic reenactments of Villa’s assassination were added to the revised print. &#8220The Revenge of Pancho Villa&#8221 provides stirring evidence of a vital Mexican-American film presence during the 1910-30s.

Scratch and Crow (1995)

Helen Hill’s student film was made at the California Institute of the Arts. Consistent with the short films she made from age 11 until her death at 36, this animated short work is filled with vivid color and a light sense of humor. It is also a poetic and spiritual homage to animals and the human soul.

Stark Love (1927)

A maverick production in both design and concept, &#8220Stark Love&#8221 is a beautifully photographed mix of lyrical anthropology and action melodrama from director Karl Brown. &#8220Man is absolute ruler. Woman is working slave.&#8221 Such are the rigid attitudes framing this tale of a country boy’s beliefs about chivalry that lead him to try to escape a brutal father with the girl he loves. &#8220Stark Love,&#8221 cast exclusively with amateur actors and filmed entirely in the Great Smoky Mountains, is an illuminating portrayal of the Appalachian people.

The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)

William Wellman’s gritty portrayal of the realities of war was based on the newspaper columns of war correspondent Ernie Pyle, played with understated realism by Burgess Meredith. In the film, Pyle follows a small group of ordinary infantrymen from North Africa into Italy, and his observations reflect the full gamut of human emotion that war invokes while trying to make sense of the inhuman randomness of war’s destruction.

A Study in Reds (1932)

This polished amateur film by Miriam Bennett spoofs women’s clubs and the Soviet menace in the 1930s. While listening to a tedious lecture on the Soviet threat, Wisconsin Dells’ Tuesday Club members fall asleep and find themselves laboring in an all-women collective in Russia under the unflinching eye of the Soviet special police.

Thriller (1983)

The most famous music video of all time, &#8220Thriller&#8221 caused such a buzz that it was also released theatrically in 35mm. As a follow-up to his smash 1982 album and single, Michael Jackson revolutionized the music industry with this lavish and expensive production. Acclaimed filmmaker John Landis (&#8220Animal House&#8221 and &#8220Blues Brothers&#8221) directed and co-wrote the video.

Under Western Stars (1938)

&#8220Under Western Stars&#8221 turned Roy Rogers into a movie star. In the film, Rogers plays a populist cowboy/congressman elected to champion for small ranchers’ water rights during the Dust Bowl. He and his golden palomino Trigger appeared in nearly 100 films and a long-running television series. Known as &#8220King of the Cowboys,&#8221 the popular Rogers had an enormous impact on American audiences. Rogers was perceived as the
almost perfect embodiment of what a cowboy should be in appearance, values, good manners and chivalrous behavior.

Call For Papers: Warring for America, 1803-1818

A Multidisciplinary Conference on the era of the War of 1812, co-sponsored by The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, The Huntington Library, the New York University Department of History, and The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress will be held March 31 &#8211 April 1, 2011, at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


The War of 1812, the first declared war in the history of the United States, erupted in the midst of countervailing forces shaping America in the first decades of the nineteenth century. From the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 to the Seminole War of 1818- from the close of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807 to the founding of the American Colonization Society in 1817- from the resumption of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803 to the second Barbary War in 1815- from New Jerseys revocation of female suffrage in 1807 to Frances Wright’s arrival in America in 1818- from the publication of Tabitha Gilman Tenneys parodic sentimental novel Female Quixotism (1801) to Washington Irving’s Sketch-Book (1819)- from Charles Willson Peales The Exhumation of the Mastodon (1806) to Charles Bird Kings portrait of Secretary of War John C. Calhoun (1818), this understudied era was crowded with events destined to unsettle the so-called revolutionary settlement.

At once postcolonial and neoimperial, the America of 1812 was still in need of definition. The decision to go to war catalyzed a critical era, one too often dismissed as an insignificant interregnum between the world of Jefferson and the world of Jackson. In contrast to the progressive experimentation of the 1780s and 1790s, the years surrounding the War of 1812 can be characterized as a period of narrowing possibilities and sharpening distinctions. Yet, the volatile elements that converged in the war and that emerged, transformed, point to the generative instabilities of the early Republic. This pivotal period merits further scholarly consideration.

The conferences title, Warring for America, 1803-1818, seeks to uncouple the War of 1812 from its stale fixture as the finale of the revolutionary era. Henry Adams contended that many nations have gone to war in pure gayety of heart- but perhaps the United States were first to force themselves into a war they dreaded, in the hope that the war itself might create the spirit they lacked. Historians have largely followed Adamss lead, interpreting the War of 1812 as a second War for Independence, a crisis meant to create the spirit of American nationalism. This conference, conversely, will consider the war as a volitional conflict that resulted from a confluence of many social, cultural, and geopolitical pressures and that had divergent consequences for the future of the extended republic.

Scholars are invited from a wide spectrum of disciplines from history and literature to art history and material culture to consider from new perspectives the struggles among Indians, Britons, Canadians, Euro-Americans, and African Americans throughout the North American continent, the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic Ocean. At issue were conflicting visions for control over territory, meanings of liberty, and distributions of power that came into focus through the upheaval of war. Proposals should address the connections between the new republics underlying tensions and the promulgation, execution, and explanations of the war itself. The organizers encourage submission of proposals for new, original work that is not committed for publication elsewhere, as a volume of essays resulting from the conference is anticipated.

Possible paper or panel topics include:

&#8211Origins of war and consequences of peace
&#8211Citizenship: gender, race, and sovereignty
&#8211Transformations in artistic and literary genres and representations of America
&#8211Postcolonialism, nationalism, imperialism, expansionism, regionalism
&#8211Continental and hemispheric events and repercussions: Shawnee, Creek, and Seminole Wars, Haitian Revolution, Napoleonic Wars and Louisiana, Latin American wars for independence, slave trade, contest for Canada and Mexico
&#8211Fronts of conflict, including the household, frontier, plantation, sea
&#8211Washington, D.C.: from new capital to pillaged city
&#8211Reconfigurations: revitalization to removal, abolition to colonization, Jeffersonianism to American system, First Bank of the U.S. to Second Bank of the U.S., printing to publishing, America as an object of natural history to the U.S. as a subject of history
&#8211Narratives and memories of the war
&#8211The Era of Good Feelings?: political factionalism, sectionalism, racism

Submit a one- to two-page synopsis of your paper proposal and a short-form c.v. no later than January 15, 2010. Submissions must be done electronically, either online at the conference Web site, http://oieahc.wm.edu/conferences/1812/cfp/index.cfm, or by email to the Omohundro Institutes webmaster, Kim Foley, at kawahl@wm.edu. Include on the c.v. complete contact information (mail, email, and telephone). All submissions will be acknowledged by email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, please resubmit or contact Kim Foley.

Program Committee: Fredrika J. Teute, Omohundro Institute- Nicole Eustace, New York University- Rob Parkinson, Shepherd University- Carolyn Brown, Library of Congress.

Photo: Battle of Plattsburgh

Outstanding New York Newspaper Source Now Online

The Library of Congress has launched the beta version of a new online searchable newspaper collection, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. The site currently contains newspapers from 1880 to 1910 (more are coming) plus a directory for newspapers published in the United States since 1690 (a look there turns up over 11,000 New York newspapers). Results from Essex County include 85 newspapers once published there.

Research Buzz has all the tips on searching, but suffice it to say that along with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle online, and Northern New York Library Network’s vast online collection of Northern New York newspapers, online New York history research just got a whole lot better. The Library of Congress site includes papers that have heretofore been unavailable for free. These include New York City / National papers The Evening World, Horace Greeley’s The New York Tribune, and the The Sun, plus other major dailies from across the nation.

I took a look at some one of my favorite historical topics, the Adirondacks. The collection includes reports from Adirondack travelers, social notes from local resorts, and hundreds of advertisements like the one above by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad from 1908. Genealogists are going to find a lot of great stuff here, as well as political historians, and folks interested in the creation of the Adirondack Park, the 1903 and 1908 fires, and a lot more like a long report on the 1900 New York Sportsman Show, including the Adirondack Guide exhibit photo shown here.